The football season is halfway over for the New York Jets and they are at a shocking record of 3-5. Their record is shocking because of how bad they were supposed to be. It was believed by many, including myself, that the Jets would be competing with the Browns and 49ers for the worst record in the league.
In the offseason, the Jets cut ties with multiple fan-favorite veterans, including future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, David Harris, and many others. The Jets did this to save money and allow some of their young talent to get playing time. This seemed to be a surefire recipe for a tanked season, something that Jet fans were not opposed to.
The cuts that the Jets made were to move towards a young core with their first and second round picks from this years draft, Jamal Adams, and Marcus Maye joining Leonard Williams, Mohammad Wilkerson, and Darron Lee on defense. On offense, a spot for Robby Anderson was opened allowing for him to be one of their outside receivers.
After the Jets got rid of basically every veteran that was on the roster last season they brought in Josh McCown to help mold the two young quarterbacks on the roster while still being at the helm of what was going to be an embarrassing offense to start the season.
To help improve the offense the Jets traded for wide receivers Jermaine Kearse, and former Jet, who I believe is one of the most underrated players in football, Jeremy Kerley. These two players are not big improvements and that was the exact plan of the Jets front office, knowing that they would bring veteran presences rather than a definite improvement.
Now with all of these changes, the Jets were expected to tank and they seemingly proved that to be true as they started the season 0-2. Their week two loss to the Raiders seemed to be the proof that we all knew was coming, they faced a good team and got SMACKED. The Jets looked like they were a high school team as they lost by a landslide, 45-20, and they never had a shot.
The loss to the Raiders seemed like it would open the floodgates to a long losing streak, but the opposite happened.
The Jets (somehow) went on a three-game winning streak beating Miami, Jacksonville, and Cleveland. These are not great teams, but the only team that the Jets should’ve beaten were the Browns. These three consecutive wins almost turned into four as the Jets somehow competed with the New England Patriots.
I was able to attend the Jets vs. Patriots game and let me tell you for awhile it seemed like the Jets were going to pull a rabbit out of their hats to beat the “Almighty” Tom Brady and the Patriots. If not for the “Whatfumble” and a couple of bad decisions by McCown the Jets would have won their fourth straight game.
The loss led to the Jets going on a three-game skid, getting them to where we are now with a record of 3-5. Now that is not a good record by any means, but it is too good of a record for a team that should be competing for the first pick in the NFL draft. It is nice to see a young team compete week-to-week, but in the end, it is best for them to lose.
The Jets are exceeding expectations, but they should be trying to meet their expectations instead: Three wins or less. Now they already have three, so they basically need to lose out in order to get a top three pick in the the draft.
The Jets chances at the playoffs went out the window with their loss to the Patriots, and their chances were not high even before that game. Each win that the Jets get from here on out will just hinder their future success. If the season were to end right now the Jets would be inline to get the 6-8th pick, depending on tiebreakers.
Now those are high draft picks and the Jets would be in a position to get an impact talent, but they have so many holes that they need to be in a position to have the pick of the litter. The Jets have a pretty good core on the defensive side of the ball, but they don’t have a franchise quarterback or running back, and their offensive line is average at best.
If the Jets do the same thing in the second half of the season as they have done so far they will finish 6-10, which is basically the worst record to get. A 6-10 record knocks you out of the top five in the draft and obviously give no hope of a playoff appearance.
Now I have suffered enough as a Jet fan, we have only had two playoff appearances in my lifetime and our best quarterback over that stretch has been Chad Pennington. I have suffered and I know that this season ending with a 4-12 record is a necessity in order for the suffering to end.
I may be feeling a bit optimistic because of how well the Jets have played with their below-average talent, but I think the Jets are closer to competing again than many think. Their defense has performed well with a mixture of young talent and veteran studs. Adding a legitimate quarterback, and another wide receiver to compliment Kearse, Anderson, Seferian-Jenkins, and a returning Enunwa will improve the team substantially.
Those are not things that can be done in one offseason, especially if the Jets keep competing like they have been. But if they blow the rest of the season like I am hoping they will, everything will be just fine.